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Government plans separate fund for voluntary PF subscribers

The Centre is looking to create a separate fund under the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) to collect contributions from individuals who will opt for the scheme voluntarily once it is open to the public.

A launch date for the fund would be announced when the scheme is made universal, the Economic Times reported, citing officials.

"Discussions are on within the labour ministry to set up a separate corpus for individuals once the EPFO scheme is opened for all," a senior government official told the newspaper.

The separate fund is aimed at ensuring that new individual subscribers do not draw upon the benefits of years of investments of over 60 million EPFO subscribers.

New individuals wouldn't be allowed to reap the benefits of the long-term investments of EPFO, the official said.

At present, the EPFO’s provident fund scheme is available to firms and employees who are in a formal employee-employer relationship. Self-employed individuals such as chartered accountants, doctors and lawyers are not eligible but the government now plans to make the scheme available to all.

"The separate fund would provide returns on the deposits based on the earnings of the new fund and their withdrawal criteria could also be different," officials said, adding that the revision was likely once the four labour codes were implemented